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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son. More

Read more in our collection of stories from moms and dads across the country about the need for paid family leave.

Know the Facts

  • Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
  • In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
  • 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
  • The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act: Making the Most of Your Protections

Posted January 22, 2015 by R. Scott Oswald

This February marks the twenty-second anniversary of President Clinton signing into law the Family and Medical Leave Act.  More widely recognized by its abbreviation, the FMLA provides a bevy of protections to employees who are – or have family members who are – suffering from an illness.  Perhaps most importantly, the FMLA provides that, over [...]

Posted Under: paid family leave

Is Your Pay Stuck? Let's Fix That.

Posted January 6, 2015 by Liz Shuler

We’ve heard for months that the economy is improving, except for one stubborn problem: workers’ wages aren’t rising the way they should be in a recovery. Productivity goes up, corporate profits go up, CEO pay goes way up—but most working people’s paychecks are stuck. What we haven’t heard as much about is how we can [...]

Leo McGarry's New Year Advice: Getting Out of the Hole Together

Posted January 4, 2015 by Shay Chan Hodges

The second Friday before Christmas was like most of my days -- essentially -- but with some unique details. I was finishing up the update of my ebook, Lean On and Lead, Mothering and Work in the 21st Century Economy, so I was making edits and chasing after approvals from various interviewees in between my double and [...]

Support Walmart Workers

Posted November 24, 2014 by Liz Shuler

Walmart. On one hand we have the Walton family—Walmart’s owners. With almost $150 billion in wealth, they are the richest family in the nation. On the other hand, we have Walmart workers, most of whom work for less than $25,000 a year. Most are women. And this Thanksgiving, more than 1 million of them have [...]

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